In this week's episode, we're featuring George Jones' last album of the 20th Century: "Cold Hard Truth" (1999). After an association with MCA for most of the 90s which resulted in decent sales but not so many radio hits, he found himself signed to Asylum Records - a signing which turned out to be his last major label deal. At 68 years of age, Jones was still in sterling vocal form and all that was asked of him was that he "do the record he would have done 20 years ago had he been sober". Jones approached the project with vigour, laying down the vocal with the pickers live in studio for all ten tracks with the intention of coming back to touch up certain parts later. However, after a serious alcohol-related SUV crash, those touch ups never happened. The Possum's near-death experience scared him into sobriety for good, and while he was hospitalised, Asylum released the album's first single. "Choices" wasn't given the radio attention it deserved - but to many fans, and perhaps to Jones himself - it served as a bittersweet summary of his career. Alongside the stark title track this album saw Jones return to his hard country best - after half a century of doing it better than just about anybody else, despite his self-inflicted pitfalls.
George Jones - Cold Hard Truth
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